About 15 kilometers inland from Papudo and just east of the Panamericana, the farming town of La Ligua is famous for its dulces de la Ligua. On both sides of the highway, platoons of handkerchief-waving, white-coated vendors flag down passing vehicles to sell their cakes, cookies, meringues, and other typical sweets. About 20 companies employ more than 300 people in their manufacture, and another 2,000 depend indirectly on the trade.
La Ligua is also known for its textiles, and at 1997’s annual Feria del Tejido (Weavers’ Festival), the world’s largest vest made the Guinness Book of Records. More normal sizes are available in stores and at the artisans’ market on the Plaza de Armas.
For northbound motorists, La Ligua is the starting point for an adventurous but not difficult backcountry alternative through the Andean foothills via the abandoned railroad line, now mostly a dirt-and-gravel road, to Ovalle.
Terminal La Ligua (Papudo between Pedro Polanco and Uribe, tel. 033/711101) is a block south of the Plaza de Armas. Tur-Bus, Pullman Bus, and Sol del Pacífico have services north and south on the Panamericana, and down the coast to Viña del Mar.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition